Stevenage wrapped up a busy first week of Pre-Season Friendlies with a goalless draw at St Albans...
Despite dominating the game for large spells and seeing two goals dissalowed for offside, Boro were forced to settle for a share of the spoils in a well-contested clash at Clarence Park.
Dino Maamria named a strong side for Saturday’s local clash at St Albans, with Farman, James-Wildin, Cuthbert, Nugent, Vancooten, Denton, Smith, Carter, Sonupe and Newton all starting alongside a trialist up-front.
Stevenage got off to a flying start and had the ball inside the Saints net after less than a minute played. A swift move through the centre of the pitch allowed Carter to get into a scoring position, but after Newton interfered to put the ball over the line, the Assistant’s flag was raised for offside.
The chances kept on coming as Boro overwhelmed their Conference South opponents during the first half. Danny Newton was looking unstoppable at the spear of the attack as he hustled and harried his opposition defenders time after time. With just under 20 minutes gone, his persistence almost paid off as he forced two quick-fire chances for himself which were well handled by Snedker.
A rare Saints foray into the Stevenage final third was almost rewarded with a spectacular goal – Bender’s long range hit curling just over the bar. Carter should have opened the scoring moments later after breaking through on goal with pace but just delaying his shot a touch too long as a diving St Albans defender threw himself between the ball and the goal. 17 year old Jack Smith was having himself a game, assured as ever in the middle of the park and not looking a bit out of place.
Iacofano showed some bright moments for the home side, none more so than a driving run and shot from the edge of the box that had Farman scrambling and falling just wide of the far post. A St Albans goalline clearance denied Newton from a first half goal on 38 minutes after another thrilling counter-attack led by Sonupe, created by new-boy Denton. The striker was prevented once again as the half dwindled down after he was picked out un-marked from a Denton corner.
Stevenage came out unchanged for the second half and despite a slow start, soon re-established their dominance. Trialist should have made it 1-0 after 10 minutes of the restart but after being played in by the on-rushing Carter, but Snedker showed his quality once again with a smart one-on-one stop.
Chris Stokes, Jamie Jellis, Andronicos Georgiou and Kurtis Guthrie replaced Ben Nugent, Tyler Denton, Danny Newton and Trialist just after the hour mark but it was City who came closest to scoring in the proceeding minutes – Merson doing well to get across his man and flick a near-post corner at goal which was comfortably handled by Farman.
Another Boro goal was disallowed for offside after Georgiou fizzed an inviting ball in-towards Guthrie, who just strayed beyond the last man before flicking the ball home. Liam Smyth, Jon Ashton and scholar Luis Fernandez replaced Sonupte, Vancooten and Cuthbert with 10 minutes to go and despite late chances from Guthrie and Geoorgiou, a winner wasn’t forthcoming for Maamria’s men as the match ended in a goalless draw.